Page:The New Europe - Volume 4.djvu/401

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The New Europe
Vol. IV, No. 52. [registered for transmission at]
the inland newspaper rate
11 October 1917

Kühlmann and Czernin as Converts

The devil was ill, the devil a monk would be,” is the true diagnosis of the German state of mind to-day. The motive which prompts every manœuvre in Berlin and Vienna is the desire to escape the doom which now hangs over the Central Empires in the last stage of the war. Through every argument in the German Press and every official speech in the Reichstag, there runs a thread woven of the two strands of anxiety and cunning: anxiety for the future which daily grows darker, and cunning fruitlessly exercised on the task of casting dissension into the ranks of the enemy. Despite the transparency of German motive we cannot afford to be taken off our guard. It would be unnecessary to lay emphasis on this truism were it not that the strategy of the new German “peace offensive” is designed to create the impression in Western minds that the enemy is prepared to subscribe to the principles laid down by Entente statesmen. Two sentences from the diary of “Wayfarer” in the Nation show that the process is already at work. “Czernin,” says “Wayfarer,” “has accepted the Liberal solution of the war in language which European Liberalism can recognise as its own. And that is a great fact.” We do not minimise the importance of Count Czernin’s Budapest speech, but we enter a caveat by finishing the quotation with which this argument opens: “The devil got well, the devil a monk was he!”

We shall best understand the intentions of Count Czernin and Herr von Kühlmann by comparing their utterances with the real “Liberal solution” of the war which is implied in the words “reparation, restitution, and guarantees.” The belated conversion of Central European statesmen to the policy of “placing Europe on a new basis of right ” by means of disarmament, arbitration, and a league of nations, only serves to throw into bolder relief their refusal to take the first steps towards a new European order by acknowledging national rights. All professions of faith in internationalism are meaningless and insincere unless